North Island Road Trip
On January 15th Marius and I left Auckland for a road trip around the North Island. We drove along the east coast to the Coromandel Peninsula. We stayed in Coromandel Town at Long Bay Motor Camp. When we walked into the camp office the hosts were cooking mussels and there was a cat patiently waiting for its helping. Smelled delicious! We then drove to Hahei, where we hiked to Cathedral Cove and stayed the night at a holiday park at Hot Water Beach (kind of like a fancy campground with full facilities - kitchen, bathrooms with showers, TV room for kids). The Kiwis are very creative with the names of their towns. There is one farther south that we drove through on our way to a national park called National Park.
We drove south down the peninsula and occasionally stopped at a spot where we could hike to a waterfall or other scenic location. Next stop was Tauranga/Mount Maunganui. We climbed to the summit of Mt. Mauganui and also did a walk around the base. As we continued the North Island tour I wanted to see Matamata, the location of Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings. It costs money to get back to the actual film location and you have to take the tour so we just posed by the Gollum/Smegal statue and called it a day so that we could continue west to sleep at Raglan.
In Raglan Marius had his first corn on the cob and I cooked us some chicken alfredo. In the morning we packed up the tent and drove south to New Plymouth (Mount Taranaki). We took a 3 hour hike up the mountain to the Translator Tower. It was steep the whole time and raining, so we didn't really get good views. When we finally reached the end of the trail it was raining and very cold. After two days in New Plymouth we headed to Tongariro National Park. We did part of the famous Tongariro Crossing through the rain. It was a bummer that all of the "Great Walks" hikes were slightly ruined by rain.
But now we're back in Auckland after 8 days of a nice road trip.